immedia Head Strategist Anice Hassim says forget about media convergence, it’s all about expression convergence, if you want to stay in touch with what’s really going on in consumers’ heads…
While the world frantically tries to deal with convergence as a result of relentless technology disruptions happening in our generation, there has been a tendency to view the challenge as merely one of media convergence i.e. all the media that people consume will converge on digital instruments of dissemination, from content owner to consumer.
The reality is that the shape of prevailing technologies allowed us to see only part of the picture. The real emerging landscape is what we at immedia call ‘expression convergence’. This means that the consumer is converging his expression or sharing onto a single device or platform and the ONLY example of which at the moment is Apple’s iOS eco-system.
Apple’s seamless fusion of hardware, software and transactional means that users of their devices can express themselves in new innovative, and much more intimate ways that resonate with our human selves and not our machines selves.
So right now, it’s not so much about convergence but rather, the portability of media and the ability of devices to allow consumers to consume content when, and most importantly where, they want. As opposed to content being ‘pushed at’ consumers, there is a reverse flow of information which means the consumer is very much king when it comes to content.
For example, whereas in the past, if you wanted to tell a life story one wrote an autobiography i.e. used a single print format, these days you can among many others, create a blog, e-mail or tweet. The reason for this is that the device you’re using is converged, allowing for a single point of expression.
This explains the upstart explosion of services or apps like Hipstamatic and instagram, which can only exist in Apple’s ecosystem right now because of their fusion of imagination and science. A picture does tell a thousand words, but a pic that can quickly be snapped, enhanced or manipulated to capture your mood creatively and expressively can convey the emotive essence of the scene. Suddenly everyone can be art director.
Hardware has also married itself with software. For example: the iPhone, iPad and iPod and the wealth of added-value experience that their signature apps provide. The iPhone is a rich but compressed ecosystem that allows the imagination to run free, via easy programmes that the consumer commands and decides when to use, making things very easy and most importantly – quick!
Technology is barrelling towards a future where everyone can, and will be, exponentially more creative than the previous generation. The tools of expression are being put in our hands in the form of tablets and Smartphones and their fusion into our lives promises to take root far faster than any technology before.